Finland is one of Scandinavia's most mysterious countries, a land of vast ice areas, never-ending forests, and unspoiled nature waiting to be discovered. Nature photographers will find interesting and beautiful landscapes for photos. Colorful cities and towns add another perspective and also make for outstanding pictures.
The Arctic Circle, boreal forests, and northern lights make Finland one of the most stunning winter destinations in the world. Even in summer, though, this gorgeous country of rugged shorelines and rocky valleys has much to offer visitors
No matter when you visit, Finland is postcard-perfect and offers plenty of stunning things to see and explore.
The Helsinki harbor is a stunning view as the sun goes down in the evening. Just beyond the shoreline, the Kauppatori Market Square is a popular meet-up place, surrounded by cafés and vendors. Every year in October, the square hosts the Helsinki herring market.
The city of Rovaniemi in the province of Lapland is perhaps most famous for being home to the Santa Claus Village – the official hometown of Santa Claus inside the Arctic Circle. When it comes to winter pictures, it doesn't get any better than this.
Rovaniemi is one of the best places to see the northern lights, catch a sleigh ride with reindeer, and experience a snowmobile safari.
- Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Rovaniemi
3. Nuuksio National Park
Nuuksio National Park is stunning in the early morning as the sun rises over the forested valley. Rugged boulders and thick, lush forests are perfect for hikes but also geocaching, climbing, and bird-watching. Visitors come to the park for berry and mushroom picking and canoeing on Lake Haukkalampi.
Located near the northwesternmost point of Finland, Kilpisjärvi is home to the "three-country border point," where the borders of Norway, Sweden, and Finland meet. The only alpine village in Finland, Kilpisjarvi is home to about 100 people and is one of the coldest inhabited places in Finland.
One of six medieval towns in the country, Porvoo dates back to the 14th century and is famous for its wooden barns and houses. Because the city is not far from Helsinki, it has become a popular day trip from the capital and host to a historical Christmas market.
Kemi is Finland's best winter wonderland destination – and that's a lot to say in a country covered in ice and snow for a good part of the year. Here, visitors can step into a teepee-type tent to cook their own food over a fire, glide along the Baltic sea, and sleep on an ice bed.
7. Åland Archipelago
The autonomous Aland Islands have been inhabited for over 7,000 years and are now home to important ports, as well as the oldest Christian church in Finland – the stone Church of St. Olaf dates back to 1260. Paddling and hiking are the two most popular outdoor activities on the islands, especially when the trees are changing colors in October.
Reindeer come out to play at dusk in summertime around the Saariselkä village in northern Finland, which sits 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. The northernmost ski resort in Finland, Saariselka is also a popular hiking destination and a great place to catch the northern lights.
Ruissalo Island in the Turku archipelago is a popular fall destination, as its oak forests turn stunning shades of yellows and reds when the cold weather approaches. Red mokki (summer cabins) are a popular sight along the rocky shore.
The largest ski resort in Finland, Levi is located in the municipality of Kittila. Because of its location within the Arctic Circle, Levi has a skiing and snowboarding season that lasts from October until May. The resort also offers an ice hotel, ice gallery, and ice restaurant. It's also a great place to catch the northern lights when zipping down the mountain.
11. Oulanka National Park
Touching borders with Paanajärvi National Park in Russia, Oulanka was inhabited by the Sami people until the 17th century. The park is well known for its untouched boreal forest and unique river ecosystem, and it's a very popular hiking destination. The 80-kilometer-long Karhunkierros trail – the most popular hiking route in the country – crosses through the park. Oulanka's cabins, located throughout the park, are free to use and provide shelter to overnight hikers.
The tiny village of Ivalo, home to less than 4,000 permanent residents, actually has its own airport. This is due to the town's popularity as a great place to catch the aurora borealis, try reindeer sleigh riding, and go hiking in the Saariselkä fjells in summer. Ivalo experiences the "midnight sun" (continuous daylight) for a period of 70 days in summer, as well as polar night (the sun never rises) for 43 days in winter.
13. Lake Inari
A popular summer destination, the lake is particularly alive during the midnight sun (May 24th to July 22nd), as tourists come from all over Finland to enjoy boating, hiking, and camping. From November to June, the lake freezes and is very difficult to access.
The 15th-century Olavinlinna castle rises over the coast of Savonlinna, in the Saimaa lake region in southeastern Finland. The three-towered fortress is home to two museums and is the stage for the Savonlinna Opera Festival every summer. In addition to the castle, the city of Savonlinna is also home to Lusto, a forest museum exploring the relationship between man and the trees around him.
The wooden Evangelical Lutheran Church is one of the most recognizable structures on the Hanko skyline. Although originally built in 1892, it was heavily damaged during World War II and had to be extensively restored. Sailing enthusiasts come in mass to the Hanko port area in summer, when regattas, music festivals, and outdoor theaters help the town come alive.
16. Koli National Park
Although just 30 square kilometers in size, this forested pine and birch park has much to offer, starting with the Ukko-Koli viewpoint over Pielinen Lake and the many caves. There are also wilderness treks, the famous Koli hills, and many skerries (small rocky islands) dotting the lakes. During summer and early fall, the park is a popular destination for berries and mushroom picking.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 18th-century fortress was originally built to protect the Finnish coast against Russian expansionism. Today, the islands – which include the fortress as well as a number of museums and artist studios – are a popular summer tourist destination reachable by ferry.
18. Old Rauma
The oldest harbor in Finland and a UNESCO World Heritage Center, Old Rauma is famous for its well-preserved wooden houses. The town of Rauma was built around a 15th-century monastery, and you can see the original church still standing when you visit. The town of Rauma sits on the Gulf of Bothnia, which has very low salinity and freezes over in winter, providing the bay with an otherworldly icy look.